I don’t know what it was but for the past week or so I just felt so different in my spiritual life. For some reason, I had this overwhelming feeling that what I did was of no value. My service on the ministry team didn’t really matter. I felt so discouraged in my leadership in our life group. I felt drained when I would go to pray, distant from the Father, couldn’t get myself to the Word. It was a strange feeling, not sad or depressed or anything, just sort of foggy. I couldn’t really tell you why. No horrific circumstances or major trials. Just sort of out of nowhere, somewhat subtle, just a little heaviness on my heart. What’s really weird is that I didn’t quite recognize it in the moment. Not until now did I realize I was feeling . . . discouraged.
A sweet friend emailed me with words of encouragement in the midst of this. She didn’t know at the time I was feeling this way, I could barely even put words to it! The LORD spoke to me through her email, lifted me up and reminded me that my service and worship does matter to Him! I can’t believe what Satan was whispering in my ear . . . at one point last week I felt like quitting it all, life group, writing, prayer team, etc. He was whispering that these things are of no value for the Kingdom, and the more I let him whisper, the louder his voice became.
I started to talk about it a little and everyone was shocked and thought I was so ridiculous for feeling this way (not in a condemning way, but surprised at what I was feeling). That made me feel like I need to shake my head around a little and get with it! And you know what, I really needed to just tell Satan to “knock it off” and “get behind me”!! So I did!! I read my friend’s email like 40 times. I thanked the LORD for speaking to me, even when I never spoke to Him about this. He knew what I was feeling, and answered a prayer that was in my heart before it was even in my head!
I listened to another sermon from Chuck Swindoll out of Ephesians 3 today. He was reading Paul’s prayer at the end of the chapter. I love what he had to say about this verse “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,” (Eph 3:16). He said Paul prayed this for the Ephesians because they were losing heart. They were feeling discouraged. He said Satan loves to use discouragement because it is subtle, he can get us to quit working for the LORD by making us feel useless and of no value. He said when you’re discouraged it effects you physically-you lose energy, emotionally-you feel useless, mentally-you lose memory (of what God’s done for you), and spiritually-you lose heart(strength in your inner being).
I was so encouraged by Chuck Swindoll’s words and Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians! I felt like that’s what I needed, strength for my inner being! He said when we’re discouraged we should 1) claim His strength, and 2) remember we’re loved. So that’s what I’m doing today. Going back to reread Ephesians 1, pray Psalm 100 and Psalm 145, and lean on Him. I’m plugging my ears to the enemy and looking to Jesus!
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)